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Pepper
IN WITH THE OLD
(Volcom)

The buzz on Pepper began last year with Kona Town, which bucked current rock trends by following in the hallowed footsteps of the Police and Sublime. Formed in Hawaii, the roots-punkers are now based in their labelís native Southern California. On their current album, the group use a producer (Ron Saint Germain) and a studio (the Hive) best known for their association with another reggae-flavored alterna-party band, 311. So itís no surprise that In with the Old is full of mellow beats, woozy tales, and all-around good vibes. Bassist Bret Bollinger, who handles most of the singing, does a killer "Donít Stand So Close to Me" Sting impression on tracks like the smoldering "Love Affair." From the seductive slow jam "Are You Down" to the keg-tapping closer "Look What I Found," sex is his favorite topic. On "Keep Your Head Bangin" and "Punk Rock Cowboy," the band head for the mosh pit with a smirk on their faces. Some of their moves are too derivative, but Pepper are perfect for beach bums who like their music a little heavier than what Jack Johnson has to offer.

(Pepper perform this Sunday, August 1, at Axis, 13 Lansdowne Street in Boston; call 617-262-2437.)

BY SEAN RICHARDSON


Issue Date: July 30 - August 5, 2004
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